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Durham Profile on Adoption Assistance

Updated June 2003

Agency Contact Person

Karen Kartusch
Adoption Supervisor
555 Rossland Road West
Oshawa, ON L1J 3H3
P: 905-433-1551 x2250
F: 905-433-0603

NACAC Representative (Parent/Volunteer)

Currently, there is no Ontario Representative. If you or someone you know would like to volunteer to help families learn more about adoption assistance, please call Jeanette Wiedemeier Bower at NACAC, 651-644-3036 or 800-470-6665.

Adoption assistance may be available for children with special needs. Often, assistance is provided to encourage the adoption of special needs children and remove the financial disincentives to adoption for the families. If you have questions, please call the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) at 651-644-3036 or our subsidy help line at 800-470-6665, or e-mail us at

1. Durham CAS's legal definition of special needs is as follows:

The agency's criteria for special needs are based on the physical, emotional, and learning needs of the child.

2. If available, the standard adoption assistance rate at Durham CAS is:

Most agreements are negotiated on a per service basis. However, a per client option is possible in certain situations at the agency's discretion. A rate of up to $500 per month is possible, but this level would be more the exception than the rule.

3. Specialized rates, if available, are based on the extraordinary needs of the child, and/or the additional parenting skill needed to raise the child. If Durham CAS offers special allowances over and above the standard rate, the criteria used to define the higher rates are as follows:


4. In addition to monthly payments, what sort of post-adoption services (respite, counseling, residential treatment, parent training, etc.) are provided? When available, are these services formally specified in the adoption assistance agreement at Durham CAS?

We can pay for individual services, in addition to the per client subsidy, based on the extent of the child's needs coupled with the family's income. Our agency provides subsidies on a case-by-case basis for physical (including dental) and social needs not provincially funded or covered by family employment benefits.

Other community/provincial benefits include:

  • private benefits through one's workplace
  • social services if the family has a qualifying income
  • health care to Ontario citizens

Services are specifically identified in a formal agreement with the family.

5. What medical or dental services are available at Durham CAS?

See question #4.

6. When my child turns 18, which benefits, if any, are available to our family?


7. Do relatives adopting under the program receive the same benefits as non-relatives?

Yes. Again, it is based on the child's needs.

8. Do children adopted from private agencies receive the same subsidies as those children adopted from public agencies?



Programmatic Procedures

9. When do subsidy payments begin?

Assistance begins anytime prior to the adoption finalization.

10. Will Durham CAS consider my family income to determine my child's benefit package?

Family income is considered in accordance with the child's needs.

11. Are prospective adoptive families routinely notified of all benefits available to them at Durham CAS?

Workers advise families on an as needed basis of possible subsidies.

12. Who sets the assistance rates and how are they established?

Subsidies are determined locally by each Children's Aid Society.

13. Who makes the final determination of a child's eligibility at Durham CAS? What roles, if any, do workers and administrators at the agency or regional level play in eligibility determination and/or assistance negotiation?

The case worker gains approval from his/her team supervisor, who gains approval from the agency Director.

14. Once a child is determined eligible for assistance, is there any requirement to look for an adoptive family who will accept a placement without assistance?

Yes, this is the practice but because of the child's needs, most families receive a subsidy.

15. Once eligibility is established, how and by whom are assistance agreements negotiated at Durham CAS?

The agreement is negotiated between the family and worker, who represents the agency.

16. A child's adoption assistance agreement may be periodically reviewed by the agency. What is the typical process used at Durham CAS?

Agreements are reviewed on an annual basis by the agency.

17. Can adoption assistance agreements be modified if requested by adoptive parents?

Yes, they can be modified by the agency as needs arise.

18. A deferred or nil agreement is one in which the initial monthly assistance payment is $0. If a child's needs are listed as high risk and symptoms later manifest, the payment is renegotiated. Are deferred agreements offered at Durham CAS?

Yes, many subsidies are based on anticipated future needs and have no pre-determined dollar amount.

19. What are the exact steps a family must go through to access the appeal process at Durham CAS?

The adoptive parent would pursue the agency complaint process.

20. Families may request assistance after the finalization of an adoption under certain circumstances. Below is the process by which families access adoption benefits after finalization.

In extreme cases, we have offered assistance to families after the finalization of the adoption. This usually takes the form of a one-time payment for services rather than entering into a subsidy agreement.


System Operation and Program Funding

21. How is the adoption assistance program operated and funded at Durham CAS?

The Province does not provide funding for the Adoption Assistance Program. Durham CAS funds the program from general agency funding. Adoption subsidies are not included in the Ministry's Funding Formula. Each of the 53 Children's Aid Societies in Ontario must make decisions around their commitment level to these families.

22. Below are other programs that may delineate Durham CAS's adoption assistance program from others around the province or country.




North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC)
970 Raymond Avenue, Suite 106
St. Paul, MN 55114
phone: 651-644-3036
fax: 651-644-9848